How can I charge my Tesla in an apartment?
Utilizing a dash of creative thinking, you’ll find there are a number of convenient ways to charge your Tesla outside of single-family home living.
If you live in an apartment complex, or you’re considering moving into one, the prospect of owning a Tesla might seem a bit out of reach. Fortunately, this is not actually the case, as driving a Tesla can be highly compatible with apartment living. Utilizing a dash of creative thinking and the strategies below, you’ll find there are a number of convenient ways to charge your Tesla outside of single-family home living.
Ask your landlord to install Tesla chargers for the apartment
The easiest approach is to simply ask your landlord or building manager if they are willing to install chargers for tenants to share, in the building’s parking lot or garage. You might be surprised how amenable landlords can be to this option, especially if a good business case is made. Tesla actually offers specific resources to help you get approval for charger installation in high-density properties, so you aren’t completely on your own.
Ask with a persuasive letter
The first resource Tesla offers is a downloadable template letter you can modify to introduce the idea to your landlord. To increase the likelihood of your proposal being heard, gather additional tenant signatures who are interested in driving an EV themselves, or simply have them send the same letter separately.
Get help if you need it
Tesla also has Installation Managers you can contact who are available to discuss custom options with you or your landlord regarding charging possibilities in multi-unit buildings. As a group, you may be able to explore customized solutions and land on one that works for all parties involved. Ultimately, the pitch should be about increasing property value and rent for the owner, since that is what most landlords care about above all else.
Look for local incentives
When making the request to your landlord, mention financial incentives which make the installation a win-win solution. Grants and tax benefits are offered in many states that can make it more worthwhile financially (for example, in New Jersey1 and Massachusetts2). Electric utility companies may also offer rebates. Researching your state’s cost-saving opportunities will increase the likelihood that your landlord will front the cost of installing chargers.
If your landlord resists installing Tesla chargers for the apartment
While many building managers and landlords are open to the idea of improving their property for the purpose of increasing long-term value, some may be resistant. In this case, there are still a few more options to consider before you abandon your hopes of charging in your building's parking lot or garage.
Your landlord may be resistant to charger installation if they don’t know how to charge tenants for the extra electricity they will use. In this case, you can suggest the landlord use Optiwatt to assign monthly charges to individual tenants for charging at home. Optiwatt is a mobile-friendly tool which uses exact utility rates to precisely calculate a Tesla’s energy usage and costs, for any given time period. Your landlord may find it valuable to know there’s a free tool available for tracking energy spending across many different cars, even if they all charge on a single meter. No additional hardware is required and it's 100% free!
Double-check the laws
If your landlord is still resistant to installation for other reasons, you can check regional laws and confirm whether or not you need the landlord’s approval to request an installation. States such as California, Hawaii, and Colorado3 have passed legislation in favor of installing chargers in apartment buildings regardless of the building manager’s position. Depending on your state, check whether you need to be an owner of the sub-unit, a renter, or if it doesn’t matter. Even if your state has not passed a right-to-charge law, your city may have a local law in your favor.
Explore alternative charging solutions if you need to
If your building manager still isn't receptive to supporting electric vehicles, you are going to have to think a bit more outside the box. However, many of these solutions work for Tesla owners around the world, so don't write them off until you have confirmed they aren't right for you.
Rent a garage separately
Instead of using a space in your apartment’s parking lot, renting an EV-compatible parking spot that is located next to your apartment or any other location you visit frequently is also a viable option. This may enable you to rent your empty spot to another tenant with multiple vehicles, and possibly even come out ahead monetarily.
Hack a solution together
Many Tesla owners on forums have opted to simply charge using an extension cord out their window in lower level apartments, to get around resistant building managers. However, this solution can be risky, as your charging cord is exposed to both the whims of passerby and the elements. Because an electric vehicle draws significant power, a short in the power supply line can very dangerous, which means you should take precautions before trying anything of this nature. Most household outlets are also 120 volts, which means they will charge your car very slowly.
Try public charging options
If you need to, you can tap into Tesla’s expansive SuperCharger Network to satisfy your charging needs. Since SuperChargers are located near many eateries and shops in downtown areas, and the SuperCharger network is continuously expanding, it can be a great solution for renters in a bind. Some Teslas even come with free SuperCharging for life! You can also search for a convenient charging location on ChargePoint and PlugShare, which offer additional public charging locations to Tesla and all other major EV manufacturers. Many government-owned areas actually have free chargers available for daytime or nighttime charging, including libraries, city halls, and train stations. Look into all your options and see what might work for you.
Ask your employer
Lastly, you may be able to charge at work if your employer is willing to install chargers. With more and more employers becoming interested in promoting green technology, installing Tesla chargers can be pitched as an added marketing benefit that demonstrates they offer an eco-friendly and innovative culture. Tesla offers an online form for employers who are interested in learning more about becoming a charging partner. Some states, like Massachusetts, also offer grants to incentivize EV charging at work.
Charging in an apartment is more difficult, but doable
Ultimately, charging a Tesla in an apartment requires a bit more creativity and finesse, since you most likely do not own the infrastructure surrounding where you park. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. As we accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels, more and more opportunities are popping up to charge electric vehicles in high-density housing. Whether that means persuading your landlord to improve their property, offering up free tools to track costs, utilizing auxiliary options, or all of the above, many determined Tesla owners have found ways to make it work. We hope you can join them, using the resources we have provided.